Rat damage? (large photos)

dav4vidMarch 26, 2010

Here are some "before and after" pictures of what I think is the result of rats eating the new growth of some of my plants. Does anyone else have this problem with outdoor plants? I have a rat-bait box but they still seem to prefer some of my plants. These are only the latest victims. I could sure use some answers.

Cereus forbesii monstrose before:

and after:

and close:

Now my baby Trichocereus pachanoi, which is showing new growth after having the tip chewed off last year:

and just today...

HELP!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bunnygurl(Z3)

I would find that very very annoying and frustrating!

Only two things I can think of.
A) Get a 'cage' of some sort with a top and put it around your plants...this would probably look awful and the rats may be able to squeeze through the bars...I know mice are crafty that way...dunno about rats as they're fatter.

B) Get spinier cacti where if they try to chew it the spines will go through the roof of their mouths and into their brains. Morbid and gross...perhaps. Effective...dunno.

I wish the best of luck to you.

Oooh, or C) Get a killer cat...I'd give you mine but she's fat and definitely not a killer.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 7:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bamboo_turtles

Forget the cages , just get a bottle of whiskey and a shot gun . Stay up all night and blast em as they scurry by. Have fun ! :)

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 7:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dav4vid

We do have several cats that patrol around the neighborhood at night, but the rats are apparently very patient, and wait until the cats are on another beat. As for the shotgun idea, I would think that might do a bit more damage to the cacti than the rats are doing; not to mention the complaints from the neighbors...and besides, I can't stand whiskey.

No way I'm going to put my plants in cages (they would feel trapped).

Oh, and there ARE many other (and spinier) cacti that seem to deter them. And the poisonous Euphorbias do a good job too. Perhaps I should simply allow Darwin to decide which of my plants will survive.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 7:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
paracelsus

What would Charlie Brown say?

Oh yeah...

Rats!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 8:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
emerald1951

Hi...
I like the idea of have a glass and blast...I agree you wouldn't have any cactus left,but you'd have fun....lol
seriously....
mix a hot pepper sauce and water in a spray bottle
and spray the plants, have to redo after it rains,(rain will wash it away).
will not harm the plants, and it should keep the rats from eating...and any other critter that might want to take a bite....it works for any plants out doors that are being eaten on....I have used it, it works...
if you have trouble with squirrels in your bird feeders, mix hot pepper flakes in the bird seed,(does not hurt the birds) works for them little guys....
good luck...linda

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 8:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
stanofh

You sure its rats? It could be slugs or snails. Are those slime trails or spider webs?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 8:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rosemariero6(z10 /ss24 So. Calif.)

The damage is from SNAILS...I caught them IN THE ACT! :(

They quickly became snail MASH!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 9:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
paulzie32(9)

Glad you found them! I was away for a while and just found your post and was going to comment about the snail turds in the third picture... that squiggly black thing... and also on your Trichocereus at about 2:00 and 4:00. But then I got to stanofh's post and your response.

Congrats on finding the culprit(s). Nice job "stanofh"
Don't assume you got them all! They're very prolific!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 10:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bunnygurl(Z3)

Hehehehehehe! I found the poop too after you mentioned it!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 10:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rosemariero6(z10 /ss24 So. Calif.)

Paulzie, if you are referring to me finding them...I am not the original poster...if that's what you thought. That would be David...who hasn't yet responded to these latest remarks. I should've said I caught them on MY plants in the past. Sorry for the confusion. :)

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 10:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
norma_2006

I was going to suggest that as well, I am putting out snail bait tomorrow. It's that time of the year. Norma

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 12:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dav4vid

Well I sure that I haven't got rid of all the snails in the garden. But could those little critters cause this much damage? WOW! I really need to get some of that organic snail bait mentioned in other postings. But now I forgot what it was called, only that is was very expensive

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 10:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rosemariero6(z10 /ss24 So. Calif.)

It's called Sluggo. You might be surprised how many slugs/snails come out at night/early morning. You can always take a flashlight & see for yourself. :P

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 11:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dav4vid

I see the snails every morning and pick up as many as I can, throwing them with gusto into the street. They love to hide in Aloe nobilis, and I pluck them out with a set of 12" forceps usually reserved for weeding near spiny plants. But alas, I cannot seem to keep up with their reproductive rate, so SLUGGO it is! Going to get some today. Thanks to all for your help.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 11:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
paracelsus

I've posted many times about my battles with Helix aspersa. At first I went out on nightly patrols with a flashlight, about two hours after dark is a good time. Two hours before sunrise is also a good time to hunt, they will be coming home from the nightly forage and are easier to spot. I still hunt them at night after rain, but rely of Sluggo most of the time.

I use my fingers to pluck, and my feet to crush. Sluggo is more efficient, and will save you a lot of time, so it's worth the extra cost. I use one of the large ten pound containers each year. It's iron phosphate (fertilizer) in corn meal. The iron phosphate dehydrates the snail (imagine eating a pound of salt), and they can't drink water, so after eating the yummy corn meal pellet they begin to feel a little sick, stop eating, and crawl back to their hiding place from which they never emerge.

Spread Sluggo right after rain, when you will see the most snails. To have the kind of damage you show, there must be a massive army of hungry gastropods, with many very very small baby snails you won't see. Patrol every night for a while with a good flashlight, the brighter the better. They have favorite foods, my Echeveria minima is a snail magnet. They managed to do a lot of damage this winter even though I was spreading Sluggo around the small clump frequently. I caught a couple of big ones in the act, and summarily executed them without trial. Some folks like to eat them, but that is a very messy affair.

The adults who eat Sluggo are destroyed, but the little ones just keep on eating and growing until they become larger, hungrier, and more destructive gastropods, ready to eat, and breed. A combination of nightly patrols, especially after rain, and Sluggo will rout the adults. You can never get rid of them all, but you can dramatically reduce the damage by killing off the big ones who do all the reproducing. Soon, they will become dormant, resting until the breeding season in late summer, so go get 'em!

Brad

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 1:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hadrian

wow, i never knew there was so much animosity toward snails on here. not saying it's not warranted. i hate snails, too. and always throw them into the empty yard across the street when i find them. i guess i just haven't had enough damage yet...(knock on wood). they seem to like my agaves and aeoniums.

Bri.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 1:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
paulzie32(9)

Has anyone ever tried buying Copper flashing and circling each plant with it? They can't climb over it.
I searched for it at Homedepot.come because one site mentioned getting it there for $65 but only found is at the link below for only $3.83. It would probably work just as good... but if you go to the store, you'll probably find it

Here is a link that might be useful: Oatey No. 33918, 3/4 In. x 10 Ft., Copper Coated Steel Hanger Strap

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 1:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rosemariero6(z10 /ss24 So. Calif.)

Animosity toward snails??? Naw! THIS is how I like to see 'em...

...especially when you go out to view your pretties, only to find they've used them as a smorgasbord!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 2:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rosemariero6(z10 /ss24 So. Calif.)

Paulzie, I tried copper once. It didn't work for me. Besides the cost would be enormous to put around as many pots as I have & I don't like the look either.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 2:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hadrian

Rosemarie:

LOL. i guess that snail isn't going anywhere anytime soon. btw, is that Agave parrasana? while on the subject, do you have guesses for the name of the Agave i posted on this thread:

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/cacti/msg0323125931653.html?19

thanks,

Bri.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 5:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rosemariero6(z10 /ss24 So. Calif.)

Hee hee...you've got that right...going nowhere soon!
AFAIK, that is Agave parrasana under the impaled snail. At least that's what I've been calling it, but it could very well be another. There have been discussions & arguments about its ID. I'll go to your post to respond to your plant question.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 9:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
norma_2006

Okay what about Grass-hoppers? I found my first one today, what do you do about them? Any suggestions? Norma

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 1:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
stanofh

Of course, in other countrys-the Escargo and fried grasshoppers are a delicacy and treat. You first.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 11:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Okay what about Grass-hoppers?

I go out at sunrise with my clippers and cut their heads off. They can barely move on a cool morning--easy to get them then.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 5:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hadrian

i catch grasshoppers/locusts and feed them to my friend's pet squirrel Jake, who just LOVES them.

Bri.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 11:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cactusmcharris

One of my dreams is to have a succulent garden in San Diego that also features hungry-for-snail-snacks ducks and geese. Plus there's the added benefit of water fowl excrement as a soil increment.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 6:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dav4vid

I sprinkled some SLUGGO a couple of days ago, and it blends right in with my DG mulch; so it is almost invisible. Should I keep applying regularly, or wait until I can't find any more SLUGGO on the ground? And why doesn't it kill the baby snails? Should I stop applying during the "dormant" season?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 9:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
paracelsus

I apply Sluggo before rain which brings them out of hiding. If it's raining all the time, I apply Sluggo when I can't see any pellets. Snails hibernate during the dry season, so I don't apply any Sluggo until early Fall when they start to come out of hibernation to mate. Baby snails are about the same size as the pellets, about 4mm, so I'm not certain they eat Sluggo which is dry, and may not recognized as food. They have translucent shells, so spotting them is difficult.

After several years of using Sluggo around the garden, and patrolling at night when its raining, I see mostly juvenile snails about 12 mm and larger. I used to find 10-12 snails a night, but now finding even one is rare. The odd adult 25-35mm has probably traveled some distance before it encounters my succulents. The overall population has been substantially reduced, along with snail damage.

Brad

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 12:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
stanofh

Theres a couple of type of sluggo-one is a small dark grey pellet..and the other is the better larger tan shaped that bloats up when wet.
The worst is a fine powder-apply that and its impossible not to inhale some micro particles if you dont use a mask. I will never buy that again.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 4:26PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Crassula ovata rot?
Okay so I was given a large cutting last Thursday and...
Hamza Nobes
New to growing cactus, leaf withering?
Hi all! I bought this mini cactus plant last Wednesday,...
s_tomato
Cactus ID?
Purchased this one without a tag. It's about 14"...
fireweed22
Prevent mix from falling out drain hole - what do you use?
I have a few particles falling out the bottom of my...
Bama_Joe
Jade fused trunk
Hi all, been reading for a while, first time poster. My...
andymac85
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™